Virtual personal tutor blog

Learn more about the shape of your study through our virtual personal tutor blog


This blog will be regularly updated and will include advice on what online learning will look like, how to best structure revision, and how to develop a learning network with your peers.

You’ll be able to find more blog posts on the new study support site once you have enrolled. Check back regularly to find out more.


I’m starting University this September...what do I need to think about?


Monday 17 August 2020
Virtual personal tutor


You’ve filled in your application, had your interview, your exams results are in. You may have resigned from your job, or be taking the brave step to return to education. September now seems closer than ever.

Are you ready to take the plunge?

Have you thought about how you’re going to set up your study space?

Do you know what you might need to bring with you?


Plymouth is renowned for its natural beauty and proximity to both the moors and the sea, and for all outdoor-loving folk it’s the perfect opportunity to buy a new pair of walking boots, invest in a wetsuit, or get your own surfboard. But what about getting ready for study?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few months, you’ll know that life is a little different for everyone at the moment, and that includes changes to how University will feel this semester. And that means that you might need to prepare a little differently too.

Blended learning means that you will have some teaching face-to-face and some online. The way you approach your learning is going to be vital to helping you succeed in all formats, and we’re here to help you every step of the way.

The first thing you’re going to need to think about this year is how you’re going to access your online learning? Have you already got a laptop or tablet? Not sure what to get – there is specific information about minimum requirements on the new and returning students page. Make sure you check this out before you buy anything new.

Next, where are you going to do most of your studying? Are you in halls with a provided desk and chair, or do you need to think about getting one for your room? You’ll want to be comfortable so you can focus, but you will also be spending a lot of time sitting and working. An appropriate set up can help protect against neck and back pain. Maybe think about starting a daily chair yoga session? Link up with your new friends and see who can do the most leg raises in your first lecture!


What about your face-to-face sessions?

What will you need to take with you? Chance to invest in new stationary, or maybe try taking your notes online so that you have them to hand whenever you need them. We will be providing additional support to help you get the most from your teaching sessions as your programme starts, but before you arrive you might want to start thinking about what has worked for you so far, and what do you feel has been less successful?

Check in advance what resources, textbooks or pre-reading might be useful for your programme. You'll find this information in your course induction information. The best way to feel relaxed starting your first teaching sessions is by being prepared. You may not have opened a book for months or even years, give it a go before you come back so it’s easier for you to get back into the swing of things.


Nervous about coming onto campus?

It’s completely understandable at any time, but particularly this year. We’ve put everything in place to keep you as safe as possible, but we know you might still feel a bit anxious. We’re here to help you feel comfortable however we can and have a range of student services available to you.

And finally for this first post of the virtual personal tutor, make a plan of how you’re going to keep in touch with those at home and your friends in other places. It’s really important that you have a support network around you, and though you’re sure to make lots of new friends in the first few weeks, it’s always nice to have a chat with a friendly face, or a letter (I know – old school!) from home. You’ll have access to a University Zoom account and so can call home whenever you wish, and might want to set this up as soon as you complete online enrolment. What social media platforms do you want to use with your family? And which with friends? A regular slot to chat might help you to feel a little more grounded in the first few weeks and stop you feeling lonely and isolated. If you’re ever worried, please get in touch with student services.

We are really excited about welcoming you to Plymouth soon, and know that you’re going to have an amazing time with us.